Cha Seung-won dons his villain’s hat for Hwajeong
There was a time in my life when envisioning Cha Seung-won playing a future king or dignified gentleman would have been obvious—the default setting, really. I think of that time as Pre-Three Meals a Day, before he was the home-cooking badass Chajumma who could whip up gourmet meals in a flash, without recipes or breaking a sweat. Before I saw him make ketchup out of whole tomatoes, before he jerry-rigged a baking rack in an ancient outdoor oven and made fresh bread from scratch, and rather than strangle Na PD for demanding fresh-made marmalade to go with it, he merely glared. And then made marmalade.
So now it’s actually kinda weird seeing his first stills for his upcoming political sageuk drama Hwajeong, in which he plays Prince Gwanghae. Sure, I get why you cast him to play a cold, ambitious, savvy politician who usurps the throne away from his half-brother, the legitimate heir; he’s got hauteur and gravitas in equal measure. Just, you’re gonna have to give me a minute to erase the images of Chajumma owning the kitchen and taking care of Yoo Hae-jin like a naggy wife, okay?
In this drama, Gwanghae plays the villain of the piece, while Lee Yeon-hee is Princess Jeongmyeong, the half-sister ousted from the palace when he claims the crown. (Gwanghae was historically seen in an unfavorable light despite being recognized for accomplishing a number of achievements, though that’s changed in modern times; a number of cinema and drama depictions have offered a much more sympathetic portrayal, some recent examples being Gwanghae, the Man Who Became King and King’s Face. This drama re-twists the narrative by making him the baddie again.)
Jung Woong-in, also pictured in the stills below, plays the supporter who helps seat Gwanghae on the throne and thereafter wields great influence in the political power game. As you can see from the faces at the script reading, which was held last week, the drama has lined up a solid cast, which include Kim Jae-won, Lee Sung-min, Seo Kang-joon, Jo Sung-ha, Han Joo-wan, and Lee Jae-gu.
Hwajeong is directed by PD Kim Sang-ho of Arang and the Magistrate and Can You Hear My Heart, and written by Kim Yi-young of Yi San, Dong Yi, and Horse Healer. It is scheduled to follow MBC’s currently airing historical fantasy series Shine or Go Crazy, premiering in April.
Via Ten Asia